How did he become so trusting of his spiritual guide? What made him give up science? Why did Gregory David Roberts turn to faith? These are some of the questions he answers in a new book.
It was written by an author who used to be an addict and robbed banks. He ran away from jail while serving his sentence, but he wrote the book anyway. Yes, of course. Inspiration comes from people who know how they have hurt others and try to change their lives in a real way. When I read about their journeys, it makes me feel more confident that I, too, can break bad habits.
Shantaram author Gregory David Roberts has a new book out called The Spiritual Path. He wrote Shantaram in 2003 and The Mountain Shadow in 2015. (2021). In it, he talks about how he was a spiritual person. If you’re looking for juicy stories about crime and punishment, this book won’t be what you were hoping for. On his six-year spiritual journey with Guru ji Shri Prabir Priyaranjan Bhattacharjee, Roberts talks a lot about that.
It’s written by Roberts: “There is a lot in my life that I’m ashamed of and deeply regret.” I had a clear idea of the harm I had done in my life, I was deeply sorry, and for a long time I’d made it a goal not to do it again, even though I didn’t want to. But I didn’t feel “clean” enough. Because of this, how did he deal with these feelings. That’s what made him start to believe his teacher. People who believe in science and logic don’t always change their minds.
You can find the answers to these questions in the book, which you can read. Roberts doesn’t write to make people think he’s great. He writes about his own journey with gratitude and honesty, but he doesn’t make it seem like this is a guide for you to follow if you have problems like his. You should mention this because if someone isn’t paying attention, spiritual practise can turn into a “ego trip.” If someone isn’t paying attention, spiritual practise can turn into a “ego trip.”
Roberts is very fond of Kali and sees the goddess as his mother. His spiritual teacher told him that blowing the conch shell with the utmost innocence and sincerity in active physical devotion could and would connect him to the spiritual world, and he did that. Book: It has detailed descriptions of how he both liked and didn’t like this type of practise, which doesn’t treat the body as an obstacle on the way to God.
This was hard for him because he came from “a background where idols and idol worship were looked down upon.” Because of his work, he learned that the term “idol worship” isn’t correct, so he didn’t use it anymore In his book, “Devotees don’t worship idols, no matter how much they love and admire them.” Idols are ways to get to know each other. Because of this, his guru told him not to look at idols as things in and of themselves. Instead, he should look at them as tools for growing closer to God so that one day, he can have “direct communication with the Divine.”
If you’re looking for a religion that doesn’t make you feel bad about some parts of it, Roberts says he’s spiritual but not religious. His words say that he “went off the grid.” He didn’t go to lunches or dinners or parties or events or festivals or concerts or movies or theatres anymore. I gave up a lot of my favourite things and focused on trying to be good enough to walk the path. As soon as that was done, “I blew on the conch shell with all my heart and soul twice a day, every day, for six years.”
In 2020, Roberts will write and produce the music album Love and Faith, even though he has a lot of bad things in his life. When he had a spiritual practise that involved blowing the conch, it made his music. As a shell that comes from the sea, “the conch” makes a sound that is “natural.” When a siren sounds, it’s soft and wails, but it can be both sombre and joyful at the same time.
Will I be surprised if Roberts is accused of culturally appropriated when this book gets more attention? I don’t think so! It’s because the history of colonisation is so deeply woven into our sense of ourselves as Indians that we don’t trust white people who want to learn about the things we think of as Indian. To believe in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, we must be more open to Roberts and other people who think the world is one big family.
To be honest, he doesn’t want to be Indian or even be a Hindu. He wants to learn from what he finds valuable in India. This is why he wants to go to India. People who are religious have “prayed with him in synagogues, mosques, temples and churches,” even though he says he isn’t religious. He can also pray in three languages, and he knows how to do that. People don’t want to be seen as religious because they see how religion gets mixed up with politics and loses its purpose of stabilising people in times of uncertainty, so they’re afraid. Perhaps. Does Roberts address this question?
Fortunately, his book doesn’t try to make India look better than it is. The film OMG: Oh My God! (2012) and Rajkumar Hirani’s film PK (2014) both show how deception thrives in sacred places. People who have seen these movies won’t be surprised by Roberts’ account of how deception thrives in these places. Among other things, he talks about “holy men” who were given gifts of gold watches, chains, and rings by “Westerners.” These gifts were then sold to him at “cutthroat black market prices.”
But the main point of the book is to change the world by working on yourself, not by fixing other people. There should be no malice in your thoughts, words, or actions. This is what Roberts talks about in his book. Roberts also talks about how his understanding of seva grew to include caring for stray animals and taking away plastic waste from beaches. That’s not what his guru told him. Instead, he should “purify” himself of pride and vanity and make different life choices.
People like Angulimala and Ashoka – both of whom gave up killing and took the Buddha as their teacher – show how people can change their ways when they have an inner awakening. They took refuge in their faith, and it helped them stop doing things that were bad for people. The book is also a reminder not to write people off for good, to be kind when we critique them, and to keep our faith in the power of renewal.
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Chintan Girish Modi is a writer who tweets @chintan_connect